The question of “What is new for the End User?” is faced by every organisation upgrading from one version of software to another. Major, and sometimes even minor, changes in the interface, the functionality and the features require training in some form for the end users to seamlessly transition. Where there is little change or competent users this may be in the form of informative presentations and flyers. For a different audience or extensive change more formal training may be required. Regardless, there will be a need to prepare resources, allocate training time and set aside the budget for this.
With Record Manager 8 (RM8) released by HP as the latest version of the TRIM EDRMS many records units will be trying to decide if they should upgrade to TRIM 7 or RM8. TRIM 7 is now well established, and although for TRIM Administrators and records managers the significance of the ‘back end’ changes created the perception TRIM 7 was going to be a major change for end users, in reality it was not, and the transition has been very easy.
RM8 will be a greater change for end users, especially if organisations are keen to harness improved features and gain greater use of the software by the general population. Having completed our development of RM8 training resources we’ve identified the major changes that will impact the end user and how. The following listing contains the main changes that will impact the end user.
It’s now RM8 and that’s quite a change for everyone! We’re all used to ‘trimming’ our documents. And in fact it’s even said quite fondly nowadays by people. You’re now going to have to provide your end users (and yourself) with a new lexicon. You’ll have to learn to talk in it smoothly, and change all documentation. Be proactive. Decide and promote the new name and talk. If the RIM team don’t take ownership of this you can be sure your end users will, and they may not be using the complimentary expressions you’d like to hear!
The RM8 Desktop & Menus
Flatter design, simpler colour scheme, and a change in style of icon is what you’ll notice when you open RM8. Stylistically it fits with the Microsoft trend in design, and most users will not find it difficult to recognise the icons they use. Changes in menus are minor but worth notifying user of is:
- The icons can be easily changed from large to small by right clicking and customising from the Shortcuts or the Toolbar.
- User Labels now appear in the Trays sub-menu.
- The Find Records Pane now enables the user to build more information into their search, and has two magnifying glass icons with different outcomes. This will require an introduction for ease of use.
RM 8 Searching
This is the area where the change is significant for end users, but also the benefits are of great value. The changes include (but are not limited to):
- The different types of search (Multi field, Boolean and String) are now easy to access through the Search Editor, and users will now find it easier to set their preferred default via Tools -> Options. This will please the IT crowd and experienced users, and allow others to develop more advanced searching methods as their usage grows.
- More descriptive field names and options in building a search (e.g. ‘Enter the words to use for this search’ as opposed to ‘Equal To’).
- New and different options when searching by Date. Most of the searches that could previously be performed using the calendar KwikSelect are now performed using the More Search Options drop down menu (e.g. ‘This Week’ or ‘Last Year’). This will provide end users with higher visibility of the type of date ranges at their disposal.
- Additional Search Method criteria to select from and the ability to compile a list of Favourite and Recent criteria within the Search Method dialogue box.
- Changes to some ‘unique’ searches (such as Searching by Actions) have been removed and replaced by more general search methods. The same results can be achieved but will require a different approach.
- A new Results tab in the Search form allows the user to pre-select the available columns in the search result.
- Many more Sorting options within the Sort tab.
The opportunity lies here for organisations to re-promote searching and dispel any negativity and myths that have grown around the capability of TRIM to find records. This is generally related to the capability of the staff to conduct a search (or enter metadata of value originally).
For some people who have established a range of routine searches, such as Action searches, the requirement to construct those searches using different terms and methods will be unsettling and require support. Taking the time to collect information on how people currently search in your organisation, conducting tests to achieve the same result and then educating people on the changes will be valuable in reducing frustration for users in the transition.
Searching is a continuous improvement project and organisations need to provide ongoing opportunity for people to improve as their use of a recordkeeping system increases and matures. As they mature they will be capable of absorbing more advanced methods and with the increased accessibility to these it’s well worth redesigning your search topics (which is the approach we have taken) to provide your users with the advantages RM8 brings.
The change to RM8 provides a fresh and clean interface that is receiving a positive reaction. The RIM team has responsibility to support and deliver that positive message. Be careful in reviewing the RM8 changes that you do not leap to conclusions that different is negative or a ‘bug’.
For instance you’ll find Title word searches in a Multi Field search interpret two words as a phrase. Therefore convey the positive message to your end users that any search with complexity (e.g. two words) needs to be conducted in the Boolean Search form. Mask the frustration that you will most likely feel at having to adjust your own search habits, as you support others to do so.
You will need to transition users to RM8. Enjoy the exploration and new learning for yourself as you discover some faster and cleaner ways of searching, and enjoy sharing your knowledge to transition others.